Public beta testing and live

Date adopted: 
July 18, 2019
Last update: 
August 28, 2020

After you've run your service or website as a private beta, it's time to make it public. Sometimes it will exist at the same time as the current available service or website, while in other cases it will replace the previous version.

Complete the pre-launch checklist

We use the pre-launch checklist to confirm your service or website meets all of the government's digital service standards before it goes live. eServices will run through the list with the service or website owner to confirm this.

Code freeze

Once your service or website is ready to launch and everything is working, there will be a period of time dedicated to the code freeze. This means there can be no new code or infrastructure once the code freeze is in place. The code freeze is in place from the date you set it to launch. You must wait until after launch to make adjustments, starting on the test server.

Get management approvals

Make sure your management team has approved the service or website.

Code change management

Code change management is how we manage merge requests, code review and deploys.

Service or website launch

Launch your website or service.

Steps to work through public beta testing

  1. Work with your department’s communications unit to execute the communications plan to announce your service or website.
  2. Start the user journey at Contact your department communications unit to help write and publish a related page on Do not add a button to link to your service until after it's live.
  3. If your service has online payment, email the production merchant ID and hash key value. They'll set everything up and make sure it's working.
  4. Avoid making last-minute changes to the service that could affect its stability or performance. Choose a date to make your service available as a public beta, then subtract 2 weeks. For example, if you want to launch your public beta on October 1, plan for September 15. Make sure you account for:
    1. Content freeze. Make no changes to content during the 2 weeks prior to launch.
    2. Code freeze. Make no changes to code during the 1 week prior to launch.
  5. Email to remove the network change or username and password that restricted access during private beta testing. Go to a public location outside of government and check if it’s working. Test by opening a web browser tab in private or incognito mode. Test from different networks. For example, from home or using a mobile network. You should be able to freely access and use the service.
  6. Monitor user feedback. As you receive it, add each submission to the backlog and label it as a bug, improvement, or new feature. Prioritize items by their value and complexity.
  7. While the service is in public beta, make critical improvements as needed.


Live is about supporting your service or website while continuing to iterate and make improvements.